Take, say, 73 little cubes (blocks or ordinary D6 dice). Could you arrange them into three perfect cubes? I’ll wait while you try to solve this problem… OK, you probably started by taking 64 of them to make a 4×4×4… Read More ›

# Teaching & Learning

## Sorry, but we’re just not going to be able to get rid of the Electoral College.

Finally the American people have woken up and understand the Electoral College (EC), or at least its importance. Well, at least somewhat. My Quantitative Reasoning (QR) students at the Crimson Summer Academy (CSA) certainly understand it: how many electors each… Read More ›

## Is this the life of a typical college freshman during the pandemic?

Even without actually doing anything, I’m exhausted just from watching this four-minute video! This is definitely not the life of a typical college freshman as portrayed in the media. So the question remains: how many freshmen — excuse me, “first-years” — are… Read More ›

## Really? You’re saying Ranked Choice Voting is too hard for adults in Massachusetts?

My former Quantitative Reasoning (QR) students know that Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is superior to First Past the Post (FPTP), the system we use in Massachusetts for most elections. So why did Massachusetts adults vote it down by a convincing… Read More ›

## Is it easy to teach an interactive map class online?

Nine months ago I wrote about a mapping workshop at the Boston Public Library. That was before the pandemic, even if it feels like the pandemic has been going on for a couple of years now. Why, you may ask,… Read More ›

## What’s wrong with spelling reform anyway? And what about the Shaw Alphabet?

I’ve heard that there are some people who think that English spelling is difficult. In fact, I think I know a couple of them. But nobody has to spend years learning how to spell Spanish words, so why do we… Read More ›

## What’s so special about the Mandelbrot Set?

Nobody tires of Mandelbrot Set images, especially the zoomed-in ones. But there aren’t very many non-mathematicians who can explain them — though I hope my former Precalculus students can do so. For everyone else, you really need to watch a… Read More ›

## Is this really what (male) math professors are like?

The philosophers in the program were kind and excellent teachers, but the math professors I met in those days were somewhat less skilled at teaching or relating to people. One told us that we should think of him as a… Read More ›

## How do I know that they know?

What do we lose by teaching remotely? Here is another follow-up inspired by Patrick Honner in this age of COVID. Honner makes the following important observation: When I taught the IVT last week, I couldn’t walk around class and look… Read More ›

## National Museum of Math: new comments

What’s wrong with the National Museum of Math??? A lot, apparently, including race and class discrimination as well as horrible management policies. I wrote a mixed review of this museum last year. I had observed that a lot of the… Read More ›